# Satellite Motion Project

Content type
User Generated
Subject
Physics
School
University of Maryland University College
Type
Homework
Rating
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Each of the 3 stages will be evaluated on a 100-point scale. Your accurate, complete answer to each
question will be worth the points given in parentheses after each set of questions.
For all stages, it is important that you provide:
clearly written responses with no spelling or grammatical errors
answers given in a different font color or altered font size to clearly distinguish your inputs from each
set of questions
the correct submission of your project file, which should begin with your last name so that your files are
easily identifiable (for example, if your last name is Smith, your filename could be
smith_stage1_project.doc or smith_stage1_project.rtf)
Applied Project - Stage 1 (due at the end of week 3) (4% of course grade)
All calculations must show your step-by-step work to receive credit starting with the formula or law you
are using.
Remember that all results should be accompanied by its relevant unit.
Results given without proper explanation and/or unit will be worth 50% of the grade.
Earth-orbiting satellites can be used to help study heavenly bodies such as asteroids. Let us first look at
some basic orbital characteristics applicable to the motions of satellites, planets, moons, and asteroids.
Go to http://www.fearofphysics.com → "Visual Physics" → "Why Satellites Don't Fall"

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1. Observe and record what happens to the satellite after inputting data for the following three
scenarios:
a. Height = 8× 105 meters (800000), Speed = 0 m/s, Animation Detail → high, click "Go"
The satellite fell and crashed to the earth. The simulator suggests trying a faster launch speed.
b. Height = 8× 105 meters, Speed = 6000 m/s, Animation Detail → high, click "Go"
The satellite moved a short distance (much less than a revolution around the Earth) and then fell and
crashed to the earth. The simulator again suggests trying a faster launch speed.
c. Height = 8× 105 meters, Speed = 9500 m/s (do not input any commas), Animation Detail → high, click
"Go"
The satellite moved a short distance (much less than a revolution around the Earth) in a direction not
like it was orbiting Earth, and then moved out of the viewing area. The simulator suggests trying a
slower launch speed. I will try launch speeds between 6000 m/s and 9500 m/s.
(5 points)
2. For a satellite at a height of 8× 105 meters, at what speed (in m/s) must the satellite be traveling to
achieve a circular orbit? (A score of 100% will tell you that you have achieved a circular orbit).
At an input launch speed of 7000 m/s, the satellite moved about ¼ of a revolution; moving closer to the
Earth along that distance, and then crashed to the Earth.
At an input launch speed of 8000 m/s, the satellite did orbit the Earth repeatedly, but the path varied
from a certain height to 2 or 3 times that height and then moved back to the original path in a repeated
pattern. The simulator graded this attempt at 115% and urged me to get as close to 100% as possible.
The simulator advised that “The right combination of height and speed causes the satellite to fall as
much as the earth curves, so the satellite never crashes!”
At an input launch speed of 7500 m/s, the satellite did orbit the Earth repeatedly, but the path varied
from a perfect orbit only slightly. The simulator graded this attempt at 101%.

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I was having a hard time with this subject, and this was a great help.

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